If you grew up anywhere near the East Coast or especially what is known as the Bible Belt, I know you or a loved one has heard this question at least once in your lives. Besides the fact that Jesus was a historical figure, according to Scripture, that lived almost 2,000 years ago & was the Messiah ( Savior ) to the Jews; if you take Scripture at His word, the salvation that He brought was realized ( Matthew 1:21-John 19:30 ( Revelation 21:5 ) & the Purpose for which Jesus was sent forth from the Father, the salvation of His people ( Matthew 1:21 ), was fulfilled ( filled up ) in the first century AD.
According to accepted use, the Greek 'Christos', put simply, means 'sent', or 'anointed', but to most or many Christians today, it seems to serve as little more than the last name of the historical Jesus. Thanks in part to bible translators, maybe especially those who based their translations on the Majority Text, this is not surprising, as they have the apostle, the most prolific writer in the Greek Scriptures calling Him 'Jesus Christ' ( or 'Christ Jesus' ): in fact, the Authorized ( King James ) Version, if memory serves, mistakenly calls the time of Passover, 'Easter'. As the case may be, however, in reference to '( the ) Christ', the Anointed, or 'sent ( One )';cannot it be rightly said that we are ALL Anointed, or Sent? Admittedly, ALL do not realize or even acknowledge this Higher Purpose; in fact, there have been & still are, those rebellious children who have striven to do the exact opposite of the Purpose they were sent for!
'Samadhi', a Sanskrit word meaning 'a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation'. Once this state is 'achieved', according to further definition, this also fulfills our Union with the Divine. It should be noted that this does not disagree with Scripture in the least! Although our bibles never say it in those words exactly, it should not be hard to realize that Jesus referred to this Union numerous times, as well as did the apostle Paul. According to the dictionary definition above, samadhi is something to be achieved, but it should be noted that while we must, in a sense, do something in order to 'get there', it is actually more of a realization than an achievement.
'Be still, and know that I [ am ] God' ( Psalm 46:10a ). This, in context, was directed at Israel in the midst of their troubles & is yet of great comfort to many today in the midst of their own struggles. To know the Peace of God, 'which passes all understanding', much like experiencing samahdi, one must simply 'be still', in other words, enter a meditative state, in order to understand, to realize that 'I [ am ] God'. In fact, the word 'selah', which we note throughout the Psalms in particular, simply means 'rest' ( meditate ). The Peace of God, then, rests in our 'hearts', or inmost being, only in order to 'know' it, to experience it, one must quiet his or her own mind, in other words, 'Be still'.
Samadhi & its Eastern connotations is often almost abhorrent to many Christians, for various reasons: however, it must be understood in the light of the context of Scripture! Although the Scriptures did not originate in an area that we associate with Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism & the like, it must be understood that, like these religions, this sort of literature does come from a place less foreign to the Far East than to our own Western World. As such then, it may be noted that they may be illumined more by an Eastern, rather than Western light.
Our Western traditions have taught us, for instance, that we must ourselves accept Jesus as our Lord & Savior, in order to enter the gates of 'Heaven'. Though this concept is not altogether wrong, it does show its Western roots, with our misunderstanding of the covenantal aspects of the culture of its origin. The Greek origins, as well, of our ( Western ) concepts of 'Heaven' & 'Hell', as things we achieve or earn, should help us to realize that much of traditional Christianity has failed to interpret Scripture in its True Light!
As traditional Christianity progresses evermore into a truer understanding of Scripture, we cannot fail to realize that, even though we, in our Western world, have been taught to disregard, even to fear the teaching of the Eastern Masters, those who have 'attained' an exalted status, their teachings are not out of accord with our own Scriptures! In order to 'attain' True Enlightenment, one must accept what the Scriptures actually & plainly tell us about our Unity with the Divine. This is not to say that we should disregard all that our Western traditions have faithfully taught us over the years, 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater', so to speak; however, we should readily & openly examine what they have taught us in the Light of the Eastern origins of Scripture & the Teachings of Jesus.
'And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all [ peoples ] to Myself.'
The Sending Forth of the Son of God, in Jesus the Christ, including His Life, Death, Burial & Resurrection, together with His Ascension, is indicative of Our own Sending Forth. Most Western traditions have viewed the teaching of Jesus in the passage above as relating to anything from an after-death experience where we will join Him in our own concept of 'Heaven', to a merely spiritually partaking in His Death, Burial & Resurrection , also know as 'water baptism'. Our own Ascension is relegated, therefore, to the after-life, according to most if not all of these Western traditions. It should not be surprising, then, that most, if not all, Eastern traditions ( religions, if you will ) teach that we have ascended, that it is in The Attitude of Samadhi that we realize this most glorious fact!
It is difficult, admittedly, in this day & age, to realize that we have 'attained'; there is so much that we note, in our experience, as have gone wrong & continuing to go awry in this world in which we live, that many have given up on it & 'put all their eggs in one basket', so to speak, just waiting for Jesus to come back & rescue us ( again? ) from the mess we've created through our own ignorance. But Jesus said, 'You are the light of the world' ( Matthew 5:14a )!
It is when we truly realize our situation as the Sons of God & the glorious gravity of the words of Jesus, that we truly & most gloriously become 'the light of the world' ( John 8:12a )! Must we accept this most glorious fact in order to shine the Light of His Glory? The answer to that question is manifestly clear. Is is in our own realization & acceptance, though, that we will more readily manifest this exalted Truth.
May we learn to ever recognize & realize,
Charles Haddon Shank